EMC forges ahead with data de-duplication

Announces updates to EMC Disk Library, EMC Avamar and EMC NetWorker line.

EMC has announced storage products that executives said respond to the top-most areas of concern for enterprise customers in the data center.

Speaking at EMC World, the company's president of the storage division, David Donatelli, said customers are typically interested in issues of storage tiering, energy efficiency, replication, mainframes, and backup and recovery.

Specifically, the products grant businesses capabilities around scheduled data de-duplication for eliminating redundant data storage; disk drive spin down to save energy when systems are not in use; low-power one-terabyte drives; disk-based backup versus tape to cut storage costs, and, overall ease of use.

The products announced are EMC Disk Library 3D 1500 and 3000 for small to medium-sized companies; EMC Disk Library 4000 for the enterprise; EMC Avamar Data Store Gen 2 and EMC Avamar 4.0; and, EMC NetWorker Fast Start.

These latest storage products from EMC combine the company's existing storage and non-storage technologies from its four divisions -- VMware, RSA, content management archiving, and information storage.

Computer equipment vendor Tiger Direct is a beta tester of the EMC Disk Library 3D 1500. Vice-president of information technology, Mark Pisetti, said that having "policy-based data de-dupe on the front end with an EMC Clariion makes a lot of sense, as we need a platform that can provide simple and easy-to-use backup and recovery management, with the highest levels of availability."

In particular, the integration of de-duplication technology across the newly-released products reflects a belief that it "has many use cases and many different ways it's going to exist in the marketplace and EMC's strategy is going to cover them all," said Donatelli.

Already, the company's products grant de-duplication capabilities. For instance, backup and recovery product Avamar offers client-side de-duplication before data is sent over the network. De-duplication "won't just exist in one part of your business, it's really going to exist all over your business" said Donatelli.

According to John Sloan, senior research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group, there has been a push in the last few months by tier one storage companies like EMC, IBM and Hewlett Packard towards de-duplication technology.

"The significance is that de-duplication has become quite popular, sort of a hot trend in the last year, and companies like EMC have become quite aggressive with it," said Sloan.

IBM recently acquired de-duplication technology vendor Diligent Technologies.

And, among EMC's product innovation thus far this fiscal year, Donatelli said the company is the first to introduce flash-based storage technology, and believes that flash technology will influence the design of future storage products in the market.

The advantages to the data center, he said, are better disk drive performance and response time compared to rotating drives. Furthermore, the technology will eventually become commoditized as the price rapidly falls, he said, "at a much, much faster rate" than rotating disk drives. And, by year 2010, flash-based disk will even gain price parity with high-speed fiber channel rotating drives. Customers, said Donatelli, are saying they're reaching the limits of what fast fiber channel technology can do.

However, although flash disks will be primarily deployed in support of mission-critical functions, Donatelli does believe rotating disks will continue to exist in the data center for a while, due to their low power usage and cost, in particular ATA disks, therefore resulting in "systems that are mixed." He said, "We're by no means saying that spinning drives are dead."

EMC's president and CEO, Joe Tucci, though, later noted that flash-based technology is "very green today and very expensive today."

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Kathleen Lau

ComputerWorld Canada
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